Five Center for Public Integrity projects honored with EPPY awards

CPI receives more prizes than any other news organization in 2017 contest

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Five separate Center for Public Integrity projects covering a disparate array of subjects in the news have been honored with EPPY Awards from Editor & Publisher, it was announced Wednesday.

The five awards for the Center were the most for any single news organization in the 2017 EPPY contest.  Last year the Center won two EPPY Awards.

“We are delighted with the depth of recognition by the EPPYs,” said Center Executive Editor Gordon Witkin. “Work by four different project teams at the Center was recognized, and each of these investigations involved months of the sort of in-depth investigative reporting that is our specialty.”   

The EPPY for Best Collaborative Investigative/Enterprise Reporting went to “Politics of Pain,” a joint effort of the Center and the Associated Press. The project provided a unique look at how drug makers and their allies sought to thwart steps intended to combat the opioid epidemic. CPI reporters Liz Essley Whyte and Ben Wieder worked with AP reporters Geoff Mulvihill and Matthew Perrone for 10 months to piece together the series, digging into campaign contributions, lobbying reports, company documents and government emails crucial to understanding the role that political considerations played in shaping the response to the crisis. The series was edited by AP’s Kristin Gazlay and Tom Verdin, and the Center’s Kytja Weir. “Politics of Pain” has also been honored by the National Press Club and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

The award for Best News or Event Feature on a Website went to the Center’s “Nuclear Negligence” project. The six-part series documented alarming safety problems at sites involved in the production of America’s nuclear arsenal, including the mishandling of plutonium; the mis-shipment of hazardous materials and the avoidable contamination of work areas and scientists by radioactive particles — all abetted by lax government oversight and weak contracting.  The series was written by reporter Patrick Malone, managing editor R. Jeffrey Smith and contributing reporter Peter Cary, and edited by Smith; design and layout was done by news developer Chris Zubak-Skees.

The Center’s “Carbon Wars” series won the EPPY for Best Community Service on a Media-Affiliated Website. An ongoing investigation launched in September 2016, “Carbon Wars” examines the damage caused and the political influence wielded by the powerful fossil-fuel industry.  The authors included reporters Jamie Smith Hopkins and Jie Jenny Zou, and managing editor Jim Morris; Morris edited the project. Complex graphics were compiled by news developer Chris Zubak-Skees, and digital editor Jared Bennett contributed layout, design and production work. “Carbon Wars” was earlier honored by the National Press Foundation and the Society of Environmental Journalists.  

The prize for Best Social Media/Crowd Sourcing went to “Citizen Sleuth,” a collaboration between the Center and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The project — #CitizenSleuth — was a crowdsourced investigation into the Trump Administration appointees’ financial disclosures, accessed through the #CitizenSleuth spreadsheet. The project represented the work of Reveal reporter/producer Amy Walters; Center senior reporters Dave Levinthal and Carrie Levine; news developer Chris Zubak-Skees and contributing reporter Christina Wilkie. 

Buying of the President 2016” was the winner of the EPPY for Best News/Political Blog. The project revealed the money and motivations behind the candidates, political committees and nonprofits that made last year’s presidential election the most expensive in history. After the election, the series chronicled the continuing efforts by special interests to influence Donald Trump’s presidential transition and nascent administration. Reporter Michael Beckel, senior reporters Dave Levinthal and Carrie Levine and deputy executive editor John Dunbar spearheaded the project.   

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